Gov. Branstad rejects Iowa Comm. Network bids

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KIMT NEWS 3 — The Iowa Communications Network has a big job. The system provides phone, video, data and internet services to schools, hospitals and much more through all 99 counties.

It is a state run system, but recently some lawmakers thought they would see if someone else wanted to run it.

“The legislature chose to put it out for bids and see what the private sector would pay for it,” said Governor Terry Branstad, R-Iowa.

Two bids came in but the governor and other leaders decided the network was too valuable to sell for the price the West Des Moines company was willing to pay.

“When we have emergencies, communication network, because of the fiber optics, it’s underground, it doesn’t go down if we have an ice storm or something like that, so I think it’s a valuable asset and I don’t think it should be sold for pennies on the dollar,” Branstad said.

He is not the only one who thinks that way.

“I know the hospitals, the schools and many other groups were strongly opposed to the state selling the network so I’ve recommended against it,” Branstad said.

One area leader says she does not see it being sold for right now.

“We have lots of people in the rural communities that utilize it through the schools and through the community colleges and hospitals so those are concerns that you don’t want to take just anything as a bid,” said State Sen. Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City.

With that in mind, Ragan said this topic will likely stay in the forefront.

“This will be a discussion that we’ll continue to have, because as technology changes, there’s pros and cons on whether you keep something or you look at different technology that can work better,” Ragan said.

The governor said at this point the government will keep the network and look into how they can better utilize it for the time being.

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